Newspaper headlines: Meghan's family and 'armed police plan'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Image copyright Getty Images

The latest on the royal wedding again features in several of Thursday's newspapers, as well as the news that police chiefs are considering routinely arming officers.

Two weeks after Meghan Markle's half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr, suggested the marriage was a big mistake, he tells the Daily Mirror that his sister "will be the perfect modern princess". The Sun focuses on Ms Markle's father for another day, reporting he is in hospital "alone and upset".

A proposal to give rural police officers firearms features on the front page of the Times. It suggests that that the most likely option would be for officers to wear a "holstered handgun" in counties such as Devon and Cornwall.

But the Guardian reports that officers carrying guns is just one option. Another would be to have the gun securely stored in patrol cars. The newspaper says it has seen details of the plans which suggests officers would receive two weeks of training initially and then two days per year refresher training.

Customs union

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that ministers in the Brexit sub-committee agreed this week that Britain could stay aligned to the customs union beyond 2021.

But the suggestion concerns Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who says that while "people voted to leave, they did not vote for purgatory".

According to the Daily Express, the odds have been slashed on Italy becoming the next country to leave the EU.

The paper reports that betting companies made their decision after a leaked document revealed a plot to ditch the euro by Italy's nationalist League and Five Star Movement coalition. The Express says online bookmakers Betway has dropped its odds from 9/4 to 6/4.

After the transport secretary announced on Wednesday that the East Coast Main Line is to be renationalised, the Times reports that four more rail operators could be stripped of their franchises. It suggests Northern Rail, South Western, Transpennine and Greater Anglia could all be at at risk.

In its leader column, the Times cautions against a return to full public ownership of the railways, advising that instead rules for the franchise auctions be rewritten.

The Daily Mirror supports keeping the line in public hands. But the Sun says the train lines aren't privatised enough and calls for rival firms to compete on the same line.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption An independent report into building regulations and fire safety will be published on Thursday

The Guardian looks ahead to a government-commissioned review of building regulations after the Grenfell fire. The final report will not recommend an outright ban of combustible cladding, according to the Guardian. Instead, it suggests there will be calls for tougher fire testing.

A pledge by shadow home secretary Diane Abbott to close the UK's two main detention centres is headlined "Labour's free for all on migrants" in the Daily Mail.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid tells the paper that the plans would "demolish policies... vital for tackling illegal immigration".

The Mail comments that voters in Labour constituencies who supported taking back control of UK borders might think twice before continuing to back the party.

The French oil and gas giant, Total, has warned that it will pull out of Iran unless it can be protected from the US penalties being imposed after Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal, according to the Financial Times.

The FT says this could mark "a significant setback" for European efforts to keep the Iran pact alive as Total is one of the biggest foreign investors in Iran's energy sector.

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And obese horse riders are likened in the Times to "the straw that broke the camel's back" for a horse trekking centre in Dartmoor, which is closing this week after 35 years. As the Sun bluntly explains, "the adults and children are too fat to ride the ponies".

The owner tells the Mail that it's a safety issue not just for the horse but for the rider. The Times suggests it is not just beginners whose extra girth is causing issues, reporting that judges at the Great Yorkshire Show asked a dozen riders to dismount as it was feared they were too heavy for their steeds.